The Kelowna Owls will host the B.C. Interior 7s rugby tournament on Friday at KSS.

Owls host Interior 7s rugby Friday

Defending champs coming off spring tour of Britain will battle seven other teams for berth at provincial 7s

The Kelowna Owls will look to defend the Interior 7s rugby title on Friday at KSS.

The eight-team tournament will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature eight teams from Kamloops to Penticton.

One other local team, the Kelowna Christian Knights, will be competing.

The games are brief, each just 15 minutes in length, and feature seven players per side.

The tournament champion will represent the Interior at the B.C 7s championship April 26 and 27 at UBC in Vancouver.

Meanwhile, the Owls (15s) regular senior team scored an impressive 30-17 exhibition victory over Abbotsford’s Robert Bateman on Tuesday afternoon at KSS.

Mitch Weir, Rakheem Rockwell and Brendan Hait scored tries for the hometown Owls, while Dom Haynes added three penalty kicks and three converts.

Last week, the Owls won their Okanagan Valley season opener 60-0 over South Kamloops.

British tour

Of the five international tours Dave Marfleet has accompanied high school teams on over the years, the KSS head coach rates the Owls’ recent trip to the British Isles right at the top of the list.

Last month, the Owls boys’ team spent two weeks in the United Kingdom, experiencing both the culture and playing rugby friendlies in the hotbed of the sport.

The Kelowna boys proved competitive on the tour against teams from England, Scotland and Wales, winning three games, losing one and playing to a draw in the other.

“Some of the teams maybe weren’t as good as we expected but it was still a great experience,” said Marfleet. “We learned that the pace of the game is faster, the boys had to play through bumps and bruises that happen on a hectic trip like this one. The boys fought through a little sickness and fatigue, but there were no injuries, so all in all it was great.”

The best teams in Britain are from private schools, while Kelowna played its games against all public high schools.

The Owls won games over Vyners School from England 29-7, Southwell (England) 35-0, Kinross (Scotland) while losing to Swansea, Wales 25-7 and tying Greenhill School from Wales 21-21.

As for the cultural side of the trip, Marfleet said the 25 players and four coaches enjoyed being immersed in British society.

“We did a lot of sightseeing, the kids saw a lot in the time we were there, and I think they learned a lot,” said Marfleet. “They spent some of the time living with strangers, so getting to know people from another culture was really good for them, too. They were out of their comfort zone, so hopefully it was part of a maturing process for them.”

The Owls will host one of the schools this summer, as Greenhill from Wales plans to visit Kelowna in July.

 

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